In our last post, we shared a research query we had received about the value of changing exhibitions to a museum, and how we went about plumbing the depths of our databases to see what we could find.
In this post, we’ll tackle the first two ways we examined the data, asking ourselves:
- How do different audience segments view the exhibitions quality at the museum they responded to when asked what “their” museum does well?
- How do those who specifically said “their” museum had “good exhibits” differ from the overall samples?
How do different segments view exhibitions at museums?
First off, we were curious about how certain segments viewed exhibitions at “their” museums. In particular, we wondered if members were more positive than non-members, if more frequent visitors differed than less frequent visitors, if parental status made a difference, if those who said their needs were met were more positive than otherwise, and if those who sought out immersive experiences responded any differently (note that not all of these segments appeared in all of the surveys reviewed).
Generally, we did find that members were more likely to say “good exhibits” than non-members. Additionally, those who visit more often (2+ times/year) were also more likely to say “good exhibits” than those who visit only once a year or less. Parents of minor children were the least likely to say “good exhibits,” grandparents the most likely, and those without minor children or grandchildren falling somewhere in between, conforming with previously established patterns of parents being the most critical of audience segments.
There was a bigger gap between those who said that “their” museum met their needs, and those that did not, on whether “their” museum had “good exhibits,” a gap of 21 percentage points, 73% vs. 52%. Finally, those visitors that seek out immersive museum experiences were slightly more likely to say “their” museum had “good exhibits.”
Overall, no big surprises here. Repeat visitors who are members tend to be happier with the exhibitions on display (though, as we’ll see, this doesn’t always hold true). And happier visitors are also more likely to think well of the exhibitions. So let’s see what happens when we only look at the respondents who feel “their” museum has “good exhibits.”
Those who say “good exhibits”
While above we looked at how different audience segments responded to the “good exhibits” selection, now we are going to reverse our perspective and look at how the entire segment of those who said “their” museum had “good exhibits” responded to other questions.
In general, we found that those who said “good exhibits” were:
- Slightly more likely to visit more often
- Gave a wider variety of reasons for visiting
- Slightly more likely to be a member
- Gave more reasons for joining, for both philanthropic (e.g., helping museum improve) and budgetary reasons (e.g., saving money)
- More likely to say their needs are met by “their” museum
Additionally, it seems like these individuals are more active museum goers, visiting a wider variety of museums. For those who responded to the outdoor history museum study, they were more likely to want to immerse themselves in the past, and seemed to enjoy history more.
Once again, overall, no big surprises. People who like the exhibitions are generally happier and more engaged with the museum they are responding to.
In our third and final post on this topic, we’ll continue this discussion and examine responses from those who specifically wrote in they wanted more changing exhibitions, and also take a look at how responses varied among different museum genres.
What do you think? Do you think changing exhibitions make happier visitors? Improve visitation? Provide a good bang for your museum’s budget? Or are they a drain on time and resources for little return? We would love your thoughts. Simply click on “comments” below to share your thoughts (and if you are reading this from your e-mail subscription, go to our blog to comment).